Saturday, January 19, 2008

How the Race can be Lost

The Democrats are riding high these days with record turnouts in the primaries and with the economy heading the wrong direction and an unpopular Republican President in office, it seems that the White House is theirs for the taking. Of course it would only seem so. Here are the things that might happen to change that seemingly inevitable outcome:

1. Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination
- Hillary has the highest negatives of any politician with the exception of George Bush Jr. While she will attract new voters to the polls, she will also attract voters to show up to vote against her.

2. Black voters stay home because they feel disillusioned
- We have already seen this race become polarized along racial boundaries. The Clinton campaign has succeeded in sharpening racial lines in the campaign. And while they can claim to have pulled back from those kinds of attacks, you can't undo what has already been done. In the south, Blacks will vote for Obama in a 80/20 split and whites will vote for Hillary along the lines of 70/30. This means of course that she will win, but the cost may be very high for her. When the general election rolls around, African-American turnout may not be what is needed.

3. John McCain wins the Republican nomination
- John McCain is seen as a maverick and someone who is a straight talker. He definitely has an appeal to independent voters who for all intents and purposes will decide a close election. He is practically the only Republican candidate who can honestly say that he hasn't changed his position on anything. Everyone knows what he stands for and while people may disagree with him, they respect him for that.

4. There is a terrorist attack on U. S. soil
- If there happens to be a terrorist attack before the general election that will push people toward the candidate that they feel would be best equipped to handle that kind of situation and clearly that would be John McCain. Given his record of military service and his stance on the war in Iraq, he would be positioned to benefit if that were to happen.

5. Barack Obama accepts a VP slot
- Hillary's negative numbers are out in the open. I would dare say that Obama's are for the present, in the closet, so to speak. It has been said that people don't vote for the second person on a ticket (which must be true because somehow Dan Quayle was VP for four years), but there a lot of people in this country who would come out and vote against Obama if he were on the ticket. America likes to think of itself as the land of opportunity, but that is an ideal, not necessarily a fact. Hillary's vocal objectors combined with Obama's more silent objectors could lead to the biggest negative vote in U.S. history.

6. The economy doesn't actually head into a recession
- All signs now point toward a recession, but if that doesn't happen, it can only benefit the Republican candidate. George Bush has just proposed a tax rebate for millions of Americans and the now Democratic controlled Congress has to very careful about how they approach this. They cannot be seen as trying to deny that money to the middle class. They might be a backlash against them if they try to stop the rebate. If they go along with it, then the Republican president can claim that his party is trying to help the middle and lower class, regardless of how they have been labeled.

7. Bill Clinton becomes the focus of the campaign
- For the most part Bill Clinton has been a huge plus for the Hillary Clinton campaign, but there is the chance that he may also help energize and mobilize the opposition. I don't think that there has been a more hated Democrat by Republicans in my lifetime than Bill Clinton. I'm not sure why that is exactly, but to a certain segment of the Republican base he is akin to the devil. His role in a Hillary Clinton administration can be used to try and get out the vote against Hillary.

I have no idea how many of these will happen, but it wouldn't take all of them for the Democrats to actually lose the general election next fall. If it does happen, just remember where you heard it first.

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